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            The 2014 CMA Gathering will be held at Holiday Inn Hurstbourne in Louisville, KY, July 9-12, 2014 - details available here


        The Clan McAlister of America (CMA) was founded in 1990 with the mission of searching for, recording and sharing McAlister history and genealogy all over the country. There are now over 1200 member families. The organization is run completely by dedicated volunteers who are McAlister descendants. It is a rewarding as well as an ambitious task.

        The data are sometimes hard to ferret out. For instance, there are many McAlister spellings. Examples include:

MacAlaster MacAlester MacAlister MacAllaster MacAllester
MacAllister MacCalaster MacCalester MacCalister MacCallaster
MacCallester MacCallister McAlaster McAlester McAlister
McAllaster McAllester McAllister McCalaster McCalester
McCalister McCallaster McCallester McCallister MacColaster
MacColester MacColister MacCollaster MacCollester MacCollister
McColaster McColester McColister McCollaster McCollester
McCollister MacAlasdair MacAllasdair MacCalasdair MacCallasdair
McAlasdair McAllasdair McCalasdair McCallasdair MacLaster
MacLester MacLister McLaster McLester McLister
M’Alasher McKallister M’Alester McClester MacEllistram
McOlisterr
Sources:
Surnames in Ireland, Sir Robert E. Matheson LL.D BL 2 volumes in one, 1994, Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc, Baltimore.

Irish Surnames, Sean de Bhudbh 1997 Arna Fhoilsui ag Comhar-Chumann Ide Naofa,

More Irish Surnames, Edward MacLysaght 1982 Irish Academic Press; Irish Families (their names, arms and origins)

        Research can be rewarding, too. Many times, a simple inquiry to a grandparent about a date will result in a tale that reveals courage, strength or a glimpse into a past culture. This (mostly) oral tradition is of priceless value and needs to be preserved. A people without traditions have no "roots" or connection to their past and are like twigs adrift on the sea of history. Quite simply, people with a sense of tradition tend to make better life choices and tend to inculcate better values in their children. All members in a society benefit from this.

        Family history is very important to us-- too important to keep in a shoe box or scrapbook where only a few can see it. We have developed a genealogy library containing copies of family histories, vital documents, photographs, genealogical materials, news clippings and other items mailed in by hundreds of members. We also have a network of researchers who have additional information on specific McAlister family lines. By sharing our heritage, everyone benefits. The CMA has records which connect many of our forefathers to their ancestors who emigrated to America from Scotland and Ireland. We actively solicit contributions and information from interested families.

        The CMA publishes a fifty page Mac Alasdair Clan Journal, which comes to your home every three months and includes family stories, history and genealogical listings. We believe this is among the finest family history publications anywhere. It also includes articles, line listings, news and many other articles of human interest, all involving McAllisters. A limited number of back issues of the Journal are still available.

        Family trees are entered into a database that has grown to include more than 88,000 McAlisters and descendants. It is organized into more than 320 family lines. We use this to help link families together. For instance, sometimes members are able to give us only their great-grandfather's name, but that is sometimes enough to link them back to a Scottish immigrant, or to find unknown relations that may even live nearby. Please share your data with us. Any information you can add will be gratefully appreciated and may help link others. Be sure to include copies of any newspaper clippings, obituaries, birth announcements, photos and any personal histories that you know.

Ancestral Code Numbering System

        To organize our McAlister genealogy, we assign a unique code for each family line. We begin with the oldest known ancestor of the line, and use the initials of his given name(s). For example, John McAllister is a "J" line, and William Crawford McAllister is a "WC" line. A two-digit number is then added to the letter code to distinguish between the many progenitors with the same initials. So J26 is the 26th family line to be submitted to the CMA database with a "J" progenitor. John's firstborn (in the example above) would be designated (J26-1) and that child's firstborn would be (J26-1-1), the second born would be (J26-1-2) and so on. The family code is used as the prefix for all descendants of the line, using an approach we adopted from the "modified register" system used by many genealogists. CMA Database Fact sheet

Genealogy Queries

        If you have a query about a McAlister ancestor, please use our Query Page. A member of the Genealogy Committee will research your query in due course and reply to you by email.


Biennial Gathering

        Every two years we hold a national gathering of McAlisters to learn further about our Scottish beginnings, to trace family migration both over the Atlantic and across America, to share the story of our ancestors and to simply experience the fellowship.

Gatherings have been held in:
Greenville, SC 1990 Huntsville, AL 1991 Atlanta, GA 1992
Little Rock, AR 1993 Tupelo, MS 1994 Tulsa, OK 1996
Roanoke, VA 1998 Norman, OK 2000 Huntsville, AL 2002
Tysons Corners, VA 2004 Nashville, TN 2006 Savannah, GA 2008
Dallas, Texas 2010 Clarksville, IN 2012